SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Springfield Public Schools on Thursday announced three separate back-to-school plans to ensure a safe return for students, teachers, and staff amid the Covid-19 outbreak.
Superintendent of Schools Daniel Warwick in an email to 22News said the three separate back to school plans include one for return to full in-person instruction with safety requirements, one for full remote learning, and one for hybrid learning that combines in-person and remote learning.
Warwick stated, “Our primary concern is the safe return of students and staff for teaching and learning. We fully understand that there are still more questions than answers, but we are working with guidance now that will help us move forward.”
The superintendent’s announcement comes after Governor Charlie Baker and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education released guidance for schools across the Commonwealth to reopen.
Warwick said after the guidance was released, his team reviewed its impact on Springfield Public Schools, pointing out the following key points:
- Current medical research supports a safe in-person return to school – with preventive measures in place – as infection and transmission rates are lower for children than adults.
- Preventive measures include masks/face coverings, physical distancing, handwashing, and cleaning frequently touched surfaces
- Masks/face coverings will be required for all students in Grade 2 and above and for all adults; they are recommended for students in Grade 1 and below
- Based upon current medical research, and in conjunction with other preventive measures, a minimum physical distance of three feet has been established
“As the global coronavirus pandemic continues to evolve and change rapidly, we understand these initial guidelines are subject to change and do not address every topic. However, today’s guidance provides a good start for our planning purposes and we applaud the level of thought and care that went into its development,” said Warwick.
He added that DESE indicated a need to remain flexible and nimble and ready to adapt to all three models based on current medical conditions as they unfold.